BIRMINGHAM.- This exhibition presents two very different photographic records of Birminghams twin city in China and contrasts the photographs of Canton (now known as Guangzhou) by the European photographer Felice Beato in 1860 with those of the contemporary Chinese photographer Xu Peiwu, (1997 - 2007).
Beatos photographs are part of Birmingham Central Librarys collections and this is the first time that they have been shown as part of an exhibition. These images represent significant documents within the context of Chinese history and culture and will be re-appraised within this exhibition.
The images taken by Xu Peiwu reflect the remarkable urbanization in China during the last ten years. He is also seeking to identify the locations of Beatos photographs and make a series of photographs of these sites. Although his work has been shown extensively throughout China, this is the first time that it has been on display in the UK.
Throughout 2008, Birmingham City Councils Museum and Art Gallery will be celebrating the vibrant art and culture of China by showing a series of diverse exhibitions. All will have their only UK showing in Birmingham. The programme of exhibitions and events is part of the national China Now festival that has been organised to coincide with the Beijing Olympics. There will be numerous Chinese art and craft demonstrations taking place at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, as well as further China Festival events taking place in the city.